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One of my goals for the year 2013 is to compile a large enough list of jokes to be able to have a Joke of the Day routine in my class. Jokes are a great way to build community in a group and to bring at least one light moment into a day. (And yes, since you’re asking, I have had a difficult week at school.)

It has proven to be much more difficult than I imagined.

What’s stopping me? I see three major problems:

  1. I usually have to explain the joke too much. About 1/3 of my class is learning English as a second (or third) language, and many of my favorite jokes include a play on words. Just the type of play that leave these students wondering what “joke” actually means. Is it a form of torture? This is the teachable moment–a chance for students to take joy in language–while we dissect the joke and explain wherein the funny lies. In the process, the humor tends to leak out, slowly at first, and then in one audible whoosh. By the time the whole class gets the joke, it isn’t funny anymore. The chicken has finished crossing the road and is on her way into a bar. Which leads me to..
  2. There is a limited availability of clean, fifth-grade appropriate jokes that are truly funny. And my students have heard most of them so many times they don’t seem funny anymore. Orange you glad I’m not repeating them all here?
  3. It is really, really hard to write a new joke. I can say funny things, I can write funny situations (sometimes) and I have even managed to pen a riddle or two. But a joke? That’s tough to do on purpose. And, in the rare occasions I manage to come up with a  good response to someone knock-knocking I can’t remember it the next time I try.

I already knew that my joke list was going to be an anthology rather than filled with original work, but I did have dreams of contributing at least one joke of my own.  So far, zilch. My ten-year-old son, on the other hand, has come up with one:

Why should you not tell secrets next to a house?  The eaves might drop on you!

That’s funny! And I’m not jealous. Not really.

Do you have a joke to contribute to my list?